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Multiple Vulnerabilities in SaltStack Could Allow for Arbitrary Code Execution

MS-ISAC ADVISORY NUMBER:

2020-058

DATE(S) ISSUED:

05/02/2020

OVERVIEW:

Multiple vulnerabilities have been discovered in SaltStack, the most severe of which could allow for arbitrary code execution. Salt is an open-source remote task and configuration management framework widely used in data centers and cloud servers. Successful exploitation of the most severe of these vulnerabilities could result in arbitrary code execution. Depending on the privileges associated with the user, an attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights. If this application has been configured to have fewer user rights on the system, exploitation of the most severe of these vulnerabilities could have less impact than if it was configured with administrative rights.

THREAT INTELLIGENCE:

There are no reports of these vulnerabilities being exploited in the wild.

May 4 – UPDATED THREAT INTELLIGENCE:
SaltStack has confirmed that these vulnerabilities are being exploited in the wild.

SYSTEMS AFFECTED:

  • SaltStack Salt versions prior to 2019.2.4
  • SaltStack Salt 3000 versions prior to 3000.2

RISK:

Government:
  • Large and medium government entities: HIGH
  • Small government entities: MEDIUM
Businesses:
  • Large and medium business entities: HIGH
  • Small business entities: MEDIUM
Home Users:
LOW

TECHNICAL SUMMARY:

Multiple vulnerabilities have been discovered in SaltStack, the most severe of which could allow for arbitrary code execution. The vulnerabilities are as follows:

  • Improper method call validation that could allow for Arbitrary Code Execution. (CVE-2020-11651)
  • Improper method path sanitization that could allow for Arbitrary Directory Access. (CVE-2020-11652)

Successful exploitation of the most severe of these vulnerabilities could result in arbitrary code execution on Salt minions. Depending on the privileges associated with the user, an attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights. If this application has been configured to have fewer user rights on the system, exploitation of the most severe of these vulnerabilities could have less impact than if it was configured with administrative rights.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

We recommend the following actions be taken:

  • Apply appropriate updates provided by SaltStack to affected systems immediately after appropriate testing.
  • Apply the Principle of Least Privilege to all systems and services.
  • Verify no unauthorized system modifications have occurred on system before applying patch.
  • Monitor intrusion detection systems for any signs of anomalous activity.
  • Unless required, limit external network access to affected products.

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